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‘Stop Oil Extraction in Rotterdam’: angry residents sign petition

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By Louise Miner  & Oscar Valero  with EBU, NLNOS
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‘Stop Oil Extraction in Rotterdam’: angry residents sign petition
Copyright  AFP

Two thousand people in the Charlois neighbourhood of Rotterdam Zuid have signed a petition urging authorities not to issue a license that would allow oil and gas extraction to continue until 2050.

Dutch company Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij, or NAM, has extracted fossil fuels underneath some 70,000 homes for the last 38 years.

At the end of last year, local residents received a notice in their letterbox stating that NAM had applied to continue oil extraction in the area for a further 28 years.

"We were not aware at all that oil was being drilled under our district," said resident Renate Maijers, who is now involved in the "Stop Oil Extraction Rotterdam" protest group.

Maijers added she is worried since gas production from its Groningen gas field caused earthquakes in 2012.

"Especially because it makes you think about what happened in Groningen," Maijers said. "You compare the oil extraction in Rotterdam to that. It makes you wonder what impact it will have on me as a resident."

Arno Bonte, the sustainability, clean air and energy transition vice-mayor in Rotterdam, said, "you don't want to inject chemicals into the soil." 

"That goes directly against the climate targets we have set. We want to use less oil and gas, not more."

In the license application, the controversial fracking technique is mentioned, which uses chemicals mixed with water to create fractures through which oil or gas can move freely.

NAM supplies 75 per cent of the country's natural gas to Dutch households and businesses. It says the probability of earthquakes from oil extraction is "very small".

The ministry of economic affairs will now assess if the extraction plan meets all safety requirements.